The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world Anthrax-Worship-Music-CD-Review







October 2011



Hi CJ, many thanks for your time.

My pleasure.


I must admit to enjoying a bit of Firehouse over the years but this year my interest has really peaked with the release almost back to back of the Firehouse ‘Full Circle’ CD and also the wonderful Rubicon Cross EP.


The release dates were purely coincidental.


We’ll talk about the latest Firehouse later but first of all tell us about Rubicon Cross? That EP just sounds so good, and makes me wonder why this is your first foray into putting something together outside of Firehouse?


Thanks for the compliment. The recording was done mostly at my place, Snare Bear Studio in Milwaukee, WI. The acoustic guitars and Bass were done at Stone Mountain Studio in Atlanta, GA. The songs were mixed by Rick Beato and were then sent back to me to be mastered. Rick brought a lot to the table considering his track record and we will use him to finish the remainder of the CD when we do a full release. Truly, I don't know why I waited so long to do my own thing apart from FireHouse.


How did you first meet Chris Green who is the other half of Rubicon Cross?


We were touring together in Spain and the UK in 2003. We became fast friends and actually became Best Man at each other's weddings. We discovered that we had a similar musical direction and the chemistry can be heard on the Rubicon Cross EP.



The songs on the EP show quite a range, what were you happiest with about the release?


It was great to stand on my own two feet without FireHouse and receive such an overwhelming response to the new music. It sort of further validated me as a writer and a performer.


I read somewhere too that you were also going to be doing some more Christmas music and maybe recording something with Neil Zaza (who has toured Asia with both Firehouse and Nelson). You seem to have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment?


I do have a lot going on presently. Chris and I are back in the studio right now finishing up the full RC disk. I released a Christmas single last year and have another one ready for release this year. I have been mixing here in my studio for various artists including, L 'N J, Xander Demos, CWA, and several others. FireHouse is writing a single slated for release next year and I am doing another solo CD called “C J Snare....From Asia, With Love.” This collection will comprise a list of songs that I have written over the last two decades while touring in Asia. Unlike Rubicon Cross, it is more from the lighter side of my writing repertoire.


I’ve seen past interviews with you where you kind of brush off questions about your musical influences, what was it that made you want to pick up that microphone for the first time?


I think I first picked up a microphone when I realized that I couldn't be heard above the band without it !!! 


OK you got me there! So what sort of music are you listening to at the moment?


Anything that is in the near field monitors at Snare Bear studios at the time.


OK and there too! Do you get much of a chance to keep up with friends from back in the day outside the festival circuit?


Some yes.....some no. I do have some friends in the industry that are near and dear and some are acquaintances through short term friendships you establish while on tour.


Did you feel it was a good or bad thing it retrospect that you came to the scene a little later than some?


I REALLY wish we had gotten an earlier start.



And you were still going strong in 1992 when many of the labels were dropping rock bands like flies? Why do you think Firehouse endured when so many bands of that era with similar types of sounds fell by the wayside?



The latest Firehouse CD ‘Full Circle’ is a reworking of some of your classic catalogue and unlike a lot of re-recorded albums I personally think that you’ve managed to pull off something few bands seen to be able to do – bettered the originals! Were you happy with the way it came out?


WE were very pleased with the outcome. It was both a necessary evil to do the re-record to gain back the rights and a blast to get back in the studio and revisit the old songs. The fans have responded very well and they have been buying them at our live shows and online.



It’s been a long time since Prime Time and over the last few years there have been hints at new material. When do you think we are likely to see some new tracks from Firehouse?


Hopefully you will hear a new single in 2012. The face of the Music industry has changed SO much since we first started. We want to whet the listeners appetites with one song so soon after the release of Full Circle.


Firehouse has always had a great following in Asia and was one of the first big bands to tour India now everyone seems to be looking to that market. Today it doesn’t seem like such a big thing, but back when you toured did you realize how big that market was going to be?


I'm still not sure we all realize just how big it can potentially be. We were lucky enough to have that market embrace and support us so early.


Did you realize that you were breaking new ground that a lot of bands would follow? I think you were one of the first big international rock acts to open India.


 We draw 20,000 to 40,000 people in India. How amazing is that?


Is it very different touring in Asia to domestically? And have you ever looked at visiting us here down-under, we’d love to see you?


It's really disappointing that we have never been to Australia. The closest we have come is Bali, Indonesia. Touring in Asia is absolutely one of my favorites. The fans are SO passionate about their music


As a live band Firehouse has always had a great reputation. Last time I saw you was straight off the stage at Rock N America last year when you kindly took the time to have a chat and pose for a photo. Before that I caught you at Rocklahoma but I’ve never managed to see you outside those festival dates does the set change much for the non festival dates?

Oh yes. When we headline we get to play a much longer set. This allows us to play deeper tracks. With a short set, we usually only have time to play the hits. Also, a headlining set gives us more room to breathe so the pace is more relaxed and I feel that the show is better and not as rushed.


Over the years you’ve toured with some of the biggest names out there do you have a favourite tour memory?


Well, getting paid for doing what you love is certainly memorable ! Also, having an audience that doesn't speak English sing along to all of your songs is always unforgettable.


And finally the questions we ask everyone… What is the meaning of life?


Love, laughter and learning. Let your star Shine...keep it burning bright. Always believe in yourself. Now's the time to start following your hear and lighting up the dark....let your star SHINE !!!


Many thanks CJ, hope to catch you on tour very soon.




You can keep up to date with CJ, Firehouse and Rubicon Cross at the following links.


By Mark Diggins